Apple's HomePod smart speaker will ship February 9th

Apple’s own vision for the future of home audio, the HomePod smart speaker, will begin shipping on February 9th. Pre-orders for the device open this Friday, January 26th, and are open to users in the US, UK and Australia, while those in France and Ge…

Source: Engadget – Apple’s HomePod smart speaker will ship February 9th

Hawaii governor couldn't log in to Twitter after false missile alert

For most of us, forgetting a password means spending five minutes messing around with authentication emails and reset links. It’s annoying, but it’s not the end of the world. It was a different story for Hawaii governor David Ige earlier this month,…

Source: Engadget – Hawaii governor couldn’t log in to Twitter after false missile alert

RED's Hydrogen One smartphone will ship this summer

RED’s much-hyped Hydrogen One smartphone is edging ever-closer to market, according to an update from its creators. In a thread on the camera company’s reduser forums, the makers of the holographic-display phone have revealed pre-order will open “pro…

Source: Engadget – RED’s Hydrogen One smartphone will ship this summer

Ask Slashdot: What Is Your View On Forced Subscription-Only Software?

dryriver writes: All used to be well in the world of Digital Content Creation (DCC) until two very major DCC software makers — Adobe and Autodesk — decided to force a monthly subscription model on pretty much every software package they make to please Wall Street investors. Important 2D and 3D DCC software like Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere, InDesign, 3DMax, Maya, and Mudbox is now only available to “rent” from these companies. You simply cannot buy a perpetual license or boxed copy for this software at all anymore, and what makes matters worse is that if you stop paying your subscription, the software locks itself down, leaving you unable to open even old files you created with the software for later review. Also annoying is that subscription software constantly performs “license validity” checks over the internet (subscription software cannot be run offline for any great length of time, or on an air-gapped PC) and the software is increasingly tied into various cloud services these companies have set up. The DCC companies want you to save your — potentially confidential — project files on their servers, not on your own hard disk. There are millions of DCC professionals around the world who’d love to be able to buy a normal, perpetual, offline-use capable license for these software tools. That is no longer possible. Adobe and Autodesk no longer provide that. What is your view on this “forced subscription” model? What would happen if all the major commercial software developers forced this model on everyone simultaneously? What if the whole idea of being able to “purchase” a perpetual license for ANY commercial software went away completely, and it was subscription only from that point on?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Ask Slashdot: What Is Your View On Forced Subscription-Only Software?

Micron, Rambus, & Others Team Up To Spur GDDR6 Adoption in Non-GPU Products

For regular AnandTech readers, the drums of GDDR6 have been beating loudly for most of the last year now. The new memory standard replaces the venerable GDDR5 memory, which, to make long-time readers feel old, launched 10 years ago. While GDDR5 has evolved well beyond its initially planned lifecycle to meet the needs of the industry, it’s finally begun to reach its apex, and a new memory standard has been needed to take its place. GDDR6 then promises to be a big deal, offering a significant jump in memory bandwidth over GDDR5 – and even GDDR5X – giving processors of all sorts a much-needed boost.

And while the focus on any GDDR technology is understandably first and foremost on the Graphics aspect of GDDR, the technology itself is not inherently limited to just video cards. Rather GDDR is fundamentally just a product built to the other end of the capacity/bandwidth continuum, focusing on high memory bandwidth and smaller capacities as opposed to traditional, high-density DRAM. Video cards in turn are the most obvious use case given their bandwidth requirements, but they’re not the only high-bandwidth devices out there.

A long-term goal of the DRAM industry has been to spur the adoption of GDDR memory in non-graphics products in order to grow the overall market for the memory and provide higher bandwidth options for certain customers. GDDR IP vendors have long seen product categories such as networking gear as being the perfect ancillary market for this type of memory, given the bandwidth needs. However while this has been an ongoing effort since the GDDR5 days (if not before), any actual market penetration for non-graphics use of GDDR5 has been extremely limited, essentially setting up status quo as we know it.

As a result, for the launch of GDDR6, Micron is taking a different, more organized path to spurring GDDR6 adoption. Being announced today, Micron, Rambus, Northwest Logic, and Avery Design are banding together to develop a complete toolkit solution for chip designers to implement GDDR6 support on their products. The development of this common ecosystem is intended to allow designers to more easily adopt GDDR6 by offering a full suite of compatible GDDR6 IP, and the means to validate all of it.

By bringing together a group that supplies everything from the memory to the memory controller to validation tools, the group is looking to solve what Micron saw as the biggest roadblock to GDDR5 adoption: the lack of easily licensed IP. In practice if a vendor wanted to implement GDDR5, there was little in the way of prefabricated designs to work with; vendors would need to implement their own GDDR5 memory controller and all the tough work that comes with a high speed memory interface. Large players like NVIDIA and AMD could of course pull this off, but it made GDDR5 inaccessible to mid-size players. These are the kind of firms who may specialize in designing a specific aspect of a chip, and then license and integrate any remaining technology they may need.

The group isn’t giving this collaboration a specific name, but each member supplies a difference piece of the puzzle. Micron of course supplies the GDDR6 itself, while the memory controller IP is from Northwest Logic. Meanwhile the PHY for the memory controller – an especially nasty bit since it’s a mixed analog/digital circuit – comes from Rambus. Finally, Avery Design is supplying validation tools for the effort, giving chip designers the means to validate their designs after integrating the various bits of IP. While the complete toolkit isn’t being offered in a one-stop-shopping fashion – interested firms will need to reach out to each member to license the relevant IP bits rather than licensing all of it at once – when assembled the toolkit should greatly streamline the implementation of GDDR6 in new chips.

GDDR6 IP Group
Micron GDDR6 Memory
Rambus PHY IP
Northwest Logic Memory Controller IP
Avery Design Verificaiton IP

As for what markets the group will be targeting, this GDDR6 IP effort is at least initially focused on supporting both ASICs and FPGAs for the networking and automotive markets. The networking market is somewhat self-explanatory here – high-end switches and routers process vast amounts of data and need the memory bandwidth to keep up – and GDDR memory has always been a good potential fit here. This is where speed/capacity tradeoffs become a factor, as even a 512-bit GDDR6 implementation only offers as much memory capacity as one good RDIMM, but for products that can work in those constraints, GDDR6 would offer better bandwidth at lower energy consumption – and with fewer total components – than DDR4.

The other big aim for the group is the rapidly expanding autonomous car market. This market has a lot in common with the graphics market in as much as it involves a lot of visual processing, though reversing the situation by making it incoming data instead of outgoing data. More advanced cars, particularly level 5 fully autonomous designs, require a massive amount of sensor data and accordingly a great deal of memory bandwidth to carry that data. In this respect the group is looking to grab a foothold in a new market, as this market is expected to boom over the coming years, and there’s ample opportunity to sell memory here.

Ultimately driving GDDR6 adoption outside of the graphics market still remains an uphill battle, both for inertia reasons and because it’s not the only high-bandwidth memory technology vying for a piece of the market. However compared to the fledging efforts to get GDDR5 adopted in this fashion, Micron’s efforts to bring together IP providers is a lot more organized than before, thanks in large part to the fact that it significantly reduces the barrier towards adding GDDR support on the logic side of matters. Micron for their part is already sampling their GDDR6, with mass production set to begin this quarter, so if Micron’s efforts make headway, then potential customers should be able to get started very soon on integrating GDDR6 IP into their designs.

Source: AnandTech – Micron, Rambus, & Others Team Up To Spur GDDR6 Adoption in Non-GPU Products

Maker of Tide Pods: It's Not Our Fault That Teens Are Fucking Stupid

Why are teens eating Tide pods? Or, at least, pretending to eat them in videos that they’re posting online? We have some theories. But the company that makes the brightly colored laundry pods would like you to know that, whatever the reason, it’s not their fault.

Read more…

Source: Gizmodo – Maker of Tide Pods: It’s Not Our Fault That Teens Are Fucking Stupid

Micron Introduces 5200 Series Enterprise SATA SSDs

Today Micron is updating their enterprise SATA SSD family to use their 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory. Aside from the new flash, the new 5200 series is almost identical to the 5100 series, but the broad range of options has been reduced to a more manageable quantity.

Where the 5100 series included three tiers of write endurance and overprovisioning—ECO, PRO and MAX—the 5200 only includes the ECO and PRO tiers, and the PRO tier has been pared down to just two capacities.

Micron says the most popular models in the 5100 series have been the 1TB and 2TB capacities. Demand in the larger 4TB and 8TB is being held back by two factors: a dearth of alternative 4TB and 8TB SATA options is dissuading buyers that want to ensure they have multiple suppliers, and many of the use cases for such large drives also require PCIe performance.

Micron has made the requisite firmware changes to support the new 3D NAND and they have made some minor tweaks to improve performance consistency, but otherwise the 5200 uses the same basic firmware architecture as the 5100.

Unlike the 5100 series, the 5200 series won’t be available in the M.2 form factor. Instead, the 5100 series will continue to service the M.2 market and the low capacity 2.5″ market until 2019. The demand in those segments is largely for boot drives, and being a generation behind doesn’t have much impact on that use case.

Micron 5200 ECO Series Specifications
Capacity 480 GB 960 GB 1.92 TB 3.84 TB 7.68 TB
Form Factor 2.5″ SATA 6 Gbps
Controller Marvell 88SS1074
NAND Micron 64-layer 3D TLC NAND
Sequential Read 540 MB/s
Sequential Write 385 MB/s 520 MB/s
4KB Random Read  81k IOPS 95k IOPS
4KB Random Write  33k IOPS 28k IOPS 22k IOPS 17k IOPS 9.5k IOPS
Idle Power 1.5 W
Max Read Power 3.0 W
Max Write Power 3.6 W
Endurance 0.87 PB 1.75 PB 3.5 PB 7.7 PB 8.4 PB
Drive Writes Per Day 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.1 0.6
Warranty 5 years


Micron 5200 PRO Series Specifications
Capacity 960 GB 1.92 TB
Form Factor 2.5″ SATA 6 Gbps
Controller Marvell 88SS1074
NAND Micron 64-layer 3D TLC NAND
Sequential Read 540 MB/s
Sequential Write 520 MB/s
4KB Random Read  95k IOPS
4KB Random Write  32k IOPS
Idle Power 1.5 W
Max Read Power 3.0 W
Max Write Power 3.6 W
Endurance 2.27 PB 5.95 PB
Drive Writes Per Day 1.3 1.7
Warranty 5 years

The performance changes from the 5100 series to the 5200 series are mostly insignificant. The smallest 480GB ECO model sees a drop in random read performance from 93k IOPS to 81k IOPS, but otherwise the ECO drives are rated for similar performance. Among the PRO models, the biggest performance change is a drop in random write speed from 37k IOPS to 32k IOPS.

The most significant spec changes are the write endurance ratings. The 5200 ECO has mostly increased the write endurance of at least 1 Drive Write Per Day, including almost double the endurance for the two smallest models. However, the largest 7.68 TB model is still rated for the same 8.4 PB (0.6 DWPD). On the PRO models, endurance has been greatly reduced, from 2.5 DWPD to 1.3-1.7 DWPD.

Endurance Comparison
Capacity 5200 5100
ECO 480 GB 0.87 PB

1.0 DWPD
0.45 PB

0.5 DWPD
960 GB 1.75 PB

1.0 DWPD
0.9 PB

0.5 DWPD
1.92 TB 3.5 PB

1.0 DWPD
3.2 PB

0.9 DWPD
3.84 TB 7.7 PB

1.1 DWPD
6.4 PB

0.9 DWPD
7.68 TB 8.4 PB

0.6 DWPD
8.4 PB

0.6 DWPD
PRO 960 GB 2.27 PB

1.3 DWPD
4.4 PB

2.5 DWPD
1.92 TB 5.95 PB

1.7 DWPD
8.8 PB

2.5 DWPD

The 5200 announcement may seem to be an uninteresting update to an uninteresting product segment, but SATA SSDs still make up a majority of Micron’s enterprise SSD sales. Micron is expecting PCIe SSDs to overtake SATA SSDs in the enterprise space this year, but demand for SATA SSDs isn’t plummeting. In fact, overall volume is still increasing even as SATA market share falls, because the storage industry as a whole is experiencing strong growth. Enterprise SATA SSDs will remain a major part of Micron’s storage business for at least another generation or two.

Source: AnandTech – Micron Introduces 5200 Series Enterprise SATA SSDs

Raw sprouts at Jimmy John’s linked to another outbreak-at least the 7th

Enlarge / Jimmy John’s Beach Club sandwich on seven grain bread with sprouts. Don’t do it. (credit: Getty | The Washington Post)

On the 2018 list of “things that are a bad idea to shove in your face,” raw sprouts from Jimmy John’s may be up there—right behind Tide laundry pods.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration announced late Friday that a multistate outbreak of Salmonella is linked to raw sprouts served at the sandwich chain’s restaurants in Wisconsin and Illinois. While sprouts in general are a well-established source of foodborne illnesses linked to many dozens of outbreaks in recent decades, Friday’s announcement marks at least the seventh time since 2008 that raw sprouts at Jimmy John’s specifically have caused outbreaks.

In response, Jimmy John’s on Friday ordered sprouts off the menu at all 2,727 of its restaurant. The company called the move a “precautionary measure.”

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: Ars Technica – Raw sprouts at Jimmy John’s linked to another outbreak-at least the 7th

Garmin's latest activity band is built for rookie golfers

To date, Garmin’s golf tracking wearables have been aimed at experienced players, with the higher prices to match. Even the Approach X40 isn’t a trivial purchase. But what if you’re relatively new? Enter the Approach X10: the new model gives you d…

Source: Engadget – Garmin’s latest activity band is built for rookie golfers

You Spend Nearly a Whole Day Each Week On the Internet

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: Since 2000, our time spent online each week has steadily increased, rising from 9.4 hours to 23.6 hours — nearly an entire day, according to a recent report by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future. The internet has become an integral component of our home lives as well, with time spent rising more than 400 percent over that period from 3.3 hours to 17.6 hours each week, according to the report, which surveys more than 2,000 people across the U.S. each year. The center’s 15th annual Digital Future Report illustrates the internet’s dramatic evolution since 2000 from a secondary medium to an indispensable component of our daily lives — always on and always with us. It also comes as many fear for the future of the unlimited internet we have largely taken for granted over the past two decades. The report also found that the internet has had a dramatic impact on how we get our news. News consumption for all ages went from a print-to-online ratio of 85-15 in 2001 to a near even 51-49 in 2016.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – You Spend Nearly a Whole Day Each Week On the Internet

Here’s why the epidemic of malicious ads grew so much worse last year

Enlarge / A tech support scam pushed by Zirconium displays the authenticated URL of Microsoft, making it easy for some people to trust. (credit: Confiant)

Last year brought a surge of sketchy online ads to the Internet that tried to trick viewers into installing malicious software. Even credit reporting service Equifax was caught redirecting its website visitors to a fake Flash installer just a few weeks after reports of a data breach affecting as many as 145.5 million US consumers.

Now, researchers have uncovered one of the forces driving that spike-a consortium of 28 fake ad agencies. The consortium displayed an estimated 1 billion ad impressions last year that pushed malicious antivirus software, tech support scams and other fraudulent schemes. By carefully developing relationships with legitimate ad platforms, the ads reached 62 percent of the Internet’s ad-monetized websites on a weekly basis, researchers from security firm Confiant reported in a report published Tuesday. (Confiant has dubbed the consortium “Zirconium.”) The ads were delivered on so-called “forced redirects,” in which a site displaying editorial content or an ad suddenly opened a new page on a different domain.

Confiant CTO Jerome Dangu wrote the following in an email:

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: Ars Technica – Here’s why the epidemic of malicious ads grew so much worse last year

Netflix Is Now Worth More Than $100 Billion

Netflix has crossed the $100 billion mark for its market cap as it once again surprised industry observers with better-than-expected growth in its subscribers. TechCrunch reports: The company said it added more than 8 million new subscribers total after already setting pretty robust targets for the fourth quarter this year, giving it a healthy push as it crossed the $100 billion mark after the report came out this afternoon. While the company’s core financials actually came in roughly in line with what Wall Street was looking for (which is still important), Netflix’s subscriber numbers are usually the best indicator for the core health of the company. That recurring revenue stream — and its growth — is critical as it continues to very aggressively spend on new content. The company said its free cash flow will be between negative $3 billion and negative $4 billion, compared to negative $2 billion this year. And that aggressive spending only seems to get more aggressive every time we hear from the company. Netflix is now saying that it expects to spend between $7.5 billion and $8 billion on content in 2018 — which is around in line with what it said in October when it said it would spend between $7 billion and $8 billion. It’s the same range, but tuning up that bottom end is still an important indicator. Some notable numbers include $3.29 billion in revenue, 1.98 million Q4 U.S. subscriber additions, and 6.36 million Q4 International subscriber additions.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Netflix Is Now Worth More Than 0 Billion

Murdoch's Sky takeover blocked by UK competition watchdog

Rupert Murdoch has been blocked by the UK’s competition watchdog from completing a full buyout of Sky. The media tycoon, which already owns 21st Century Fox and a range of newspapers including The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun, launched a &poun…

Source: Engadget – Murdoch’s Sky takeover blocked by UK competition watchdog

Acer's Spin 11 hybrid Chromebook supports Android apps

You can add Acer’s new Spin 11 to the list of Chromebooks to choose from if you’re looking for one that can run Android apps. It’s a laptop-tablet hybrid/convertible with flexible joints, so you can fold it if you want to use it as a tablet and have…

Source: Engadget – Acer’s Spin 11 hybrid Chromebook supports Android apps

Facebook 'Flicks' last slightly longer than a nanosecond

Facebook has just launched something new, and it’s not a product you’ll be able to buy or a feature we’ll all be able to enjoy. It’s a unit of time called “Flicks,” which is 1/705600000 of a second. That’s slightly longer than a nanosecond, but still…

Source: Engadget – Facebook ‘Flicks’ last slightly longer than a nanosecond

Acer Announces New Chromebooks And Chromebox Devices

This morning, Acer is announcing a couple of new devices at the Bett show in London, which is an industry show focusing on education technology. Chrome OS has done well in education in the US, and it’s likely Google and their partners are hoping to find the same traction around the world.

Acer Chromebook 11 C732

Acer is announcing a new version of their Chromebook 11 focused on education. It’s offering increased durability over more mainstream notebooks, which is something often found in education-focused devices, where the units are not necessarily going to be treated well all the time. The Acer Chromebook 11 C732 is IP41-rated, and drop tested up to 122 cm / 48 inches. It features a spill-resistant keyboard which can handle 330 ml of liquid, and is compliant with the MIL-STD 810G specs.

Chrome OS works best with an internet connection, and the C732 offers an optional 4G LTE modem as well to remove the requirement of Wi-Fi access, and if you’ve got Wi-Fi available, it has a 2×2 802.11ac network adapter for wireless LAN. It also features two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C ports which offer data transfer, power delivery, and display output, and two USB 3.0 Type-A ports.

Acer has leveraged Intel’s Celeron lineup, with the N3350 dual-core, or N3450 quad-core processors available, which are Atom cores based on the Apollo Lake platform. Driving Chrome OS, a less powerful processor is generally fine. The display is only 1366×768, so a lot of processing power isn’t required, but Acer is offering a wide array of display choices, with both IPS and TN panels available in non-touch, and IPS with touch as well. The displays will open 180° to lay the devices flat if necessary.

Acer is claiming up to 12 hours of battery life, and the Acer Chromebook 11 C732 is 21.3 mm / 0.84 in thick, with a weight of 1.26 kg / 2.78 pounds. It will be available in March starting at $279.99 for the non-touch, and $299.99 for the touch model.

Acer Chromebook Spin 11

Acer is also announcing a new 2-in-1 version of their Chromebook 11, with the Acer Chromebook Spin 11. It features a lot of the same features as the Chromebook 11 C732, with the same Intel Celeron N3350 or N3450 processor options, and an 11-inch 1366×768 display. It also has two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C ports, along with 2 USB 3.0 Type-A ports for connectivity. It will be offered in models with 4 or 8 GB of LPDDR4, and 32 or 64 GB of eMMC storage.

The Chromebook Spin 11 though is a convertible device, with a flip-around screen. The display can be had with an optional Wacom EMR stylus, in addition to the touch input you’d expect of a convertible.

The price isn’t much more than the non-rotating model either, although it doesn’t offer the same durability specifications either, but it will be available starting in April for $349.99.

Acer Chromebox CX13

Finally, Acer is launching a Chromebox as well, called the CX13. For those that want to keep their Chrome OS in one spot, the CX13 should offer more performance and connectivity options. The CX13 can be had with up to 8th Generation Intel Core processors, and it features a USB 3.1 Type-C port along with five USB Type-A ports, along with HDMI, microSD card reader, and Gigabit Ethernet. It will also have a 2×2 MIMO 802.11ac wireless network card, and Bluetooth 4.2.

Acer is targeting the CX13 at the library or lab in a school, where mobility isn’t as important. It will be offered with a VESA mounting kit as well, to tuck it out of sight behind the display.

Acer is not announcing pricing or availability for this device yet, so stay tuned.

Source: Acer

Source: AnandTech – Acer Announces New Chromebooks And Chromebox Devices

Google Just Broke Amazon's Workaround For YouTube On Fire TV

Google has cracked down on Fire TV users once again. Today, the technology company blocked Silk and Firefox browsers from displaying the interface usually shown on large screens. Cord Cutters News reports: Now if you try to access on a Fire TV through the Firefox or Silk browser you will be redirected to the desktop version of the site. According to Elias Saba from AFTVnews, “By blocking access to the version of YouTube made for television browsers, Google has deliberately made browsing their website an unusable experience on Amazon Fire TVs, Fire TV Sticks, and Fire TV Edition televisions.” This fight over YouTube and Amazon has been going on for some time. The standoff heated up in early December as Google announced plans to pull the YouTube app from the Fire TV on January 1st 2018. Amazon responded by adding a browser to allow access to the web version on the Fire TV. Now Google has countered by blocking the Fire TV’s browsers from accessing the made-for-TV edition of Back on December 15th, The Verge reported that Google and Amazon are in talks to keep YouTube on the Fire TV, but as of today it looks like nothing has come from these talks.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Google Just Broke Amazon’s Workaround For YouTube On Fire TV